Children and toddlers enjoy playing in sand, and while it is an enjoyable backyard activity it also develops fine motor skills. A sandpit can be a permanent fixture in your backyard, but several toy manufacturers have also designed smaller movable pits. Whatever your intention, a sandpit can provide hours of enjoyment for your children.
Types of Sandpits
Sandpits may be purchased at various toy stores and are composed of a durable plastic built to last through childhood. Manufactured in many shapes such as turtles and boats, these sandpits are filled with play sand which is found at home improvement or toy stores. In lieu of purchasing one, sandpits are also built using wooden planks secured together with brackets and lined with a heavy-duty plastic sheeting.
Commercial sandpits usually come with a plastic lid or cover. You will need to create a cover for your homemade version to keep stray cats from using the sandpit as a litter box. Other animals may burrow in the sand -- especially in hard, compacted sand -- and may pose a danger to children. Cover the sandpit with a tarp, canvas cover or build a wooden top.
Toddlers and even older children use the sandpit for different dramatic play activities such as pretending the pit is a garden, or hiding dog bones to play archaeologist. Many children enjoy adding water to the sandpit and creating mud-pies using old pots, pans, spoons and sifters. Use plastic toys in the sandpit to create a farm, or a city with roads and buildings. Provide buckets, bottles, funnels and shovels to enhance motor skills.
Things to Consider
Consider the age of your children when building or purchasing a sandpit. Kiddie Gardens suggests that children usually stop playing in the sandpit around age 8 or 9. If you rent a home or apartment, consult your landlord prior to installing or purchasing a sandpit. If you own your home but plan to move in a few months, installing a sandpit may not be the best option.